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Pastoral Counseling Reflection

Pastoral Counseling Reflection

Abstract

In counseling, the primary purpose is to help the counselee come up with a direction that enhances the intention which optimally helps him/her come up with a solution of the prevailing problem. The issue at hand is to analyze whether the counseling helps the counselee make progress or make the problem even greater. It is the intention of this paper to illustrate the usefulness of pastoral approach in the field of counseling. The backbone of this analysis in centered on identifying the role a religious leader can play in the line of helping those stuck in their life situations. Above all, in this reflection paper, there is an intentional attempt to pinpoint the relevance of pastoral counseling in this ever demanding field. Many times pastors do feel they are not in a position to provide guidance for psychological problems, and they end referring counselees to experts in this field.

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The reflection also goes ahead and pinpoints the blueprints of what is the general practice in the counseling. It also identifies the areas where pastoral counseling can either complement or even supplement identified gaps in counseling. All this is aimed at earning the word of God a rightful place as far as counseling is concerned. Optimally this reflection is directed at supporting my opinion that the word of God will never lack the answer people are looking for. Pastoral counseling is thus not only relevant but also very useful as it offers a solution that incorporates life and faith. This is because it is guided by the teaching of the Holy book thus making it not only viable but also holistic. In summary, the reflection is aimed at encouraging the pastors and other religious players that they should not look down upon themselves when it comes to offering counseling help to their counselees.

Introduction

Counseling entails the provision of assistance, guidance and encouragement to people who come seeking help. It involves offering another perspective on the problem and thus optimally finding the needed solution (Leong & Leach, 2008). This field has seen many people finding their way to a psychologist as they try to find their most sorted answers. It is the hope of every counselee after session with his/her psychological expert. The question then is whether the one has to be an expert to offer counseling help. In the relevance to the topic at hand the next question is whether a pastoral counselor has to be an expert in the field of psychology to be considered an option when it comes to counselee. With the psychological field being very sensitive, it is reasonable enough for pastors to be fearful. However, this should not be the case; this is because the best thing one can give a counselee is hope. To pastors, this is what they know best as they spread the word of God week after week. They offer their counselees hope through quenching their thirst with amazing teachings. It is for this core reason I believe that pastoral counseling is not only essential in helping counselees but also a useful tool in maintaining a mentally healthy society which is a core mandate of the church.

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With the increasing pressures on our lives, psychological patients are on the rise as people find themselves in situations they cannot apprehend. As a result, the counseling industry has been so heavily commercialized that the attention is no longer counselee centered but monetary centered. The counselee is no longer in the driving seat. He/she is at the mercy of the counselor who seems to know a great depth of the counselee more than the counselee him/herself (Kollar, 1997). There is a lot of generalization as different experts continue to provide potential solution to their patients. This trend has led the counselees problems being magnified rather than being solved. Everything has been narrowed down to a practice book to which the experts make reference and their patients problem has in one way or the other fitted under the paradigm. All this has led to the counselees getting the solution the practitioners think is the right help rather than getting the relevant help.

Experience with Pastoral Counseling

Many times people come to the church seeking help and looking for an answer on diverse issues ranging from family and work to social life to name a few. A serious question is; why do they come to the church? The simple answer is the confidence and the trust these people have bestowed upon the church. As a result, it becomes and ought to be recognized as an important agent in the field of counseling. This is because counseling has to be patient specific as the intention is to identify the thing that is making a person consider looking for help. The church is guided by the love, and the message of God is manifested through the teachings of the Bible (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009).

This makes the church provide not only hope but also encouragement vital in handling the different challenges posed by life. Besides, these two ingredients are at the heart of any counseling regardless of the expert involved. The most common problem faced by the counselees is that involving family relationships. At times, the issues are so intense that a pastor is in a dilemma, especially, when the problems at hand are threatening the marriage union. The easier way is to refer the couple to a marriage counselor where they will get professional help. But the question is; who best fit to handle marital issues? Is it a counselor who has only read the marital books or a pastor who has the Godly history of the marriage itself? The answer is there in white and black; pastors are fully bestowed as premium counselors. The issue now is how well they can take up the challenge. Sending the counselees to the professionals do aid in sending the wrong signal. Pastors magnify their panic by indication to counselees that the problem is beyond Gods power (Kollar, 1997). If they fail to take an active role in the counseling, they will be evading the core business of a church, which is providing hope and encouragement.

Current Needs

What pastors perceive as difficult or the problem is that what they cannot be able to dissect, understand or make sense out of, is what is beyond their comfort zone (Kollar, 1997). Thus when pastors push away counsel seekers to those they think are better suited they are presenting our creator as a weak God. They are, in other words, saying that the counselee has to take that problem to another place since the Gods house does not have the answer he/she is seeking. The question is whether this is the truth. This is not the truth in any way; our God is an ever knowing God and with Him lay all the answers if one seeks for them carefully. Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you will find.’ These were the words of Jesus. This is because He knew His father possess everything a man can want or yearn for, it is up to him or her to know how to ask or seek. The fact that pastors are the vehicles of our Lord must be manifested in every undertaking. In line with this, pastoral counseling ought to be revolutionized.

Pastoral counseling should not continue being on the passive level where the optimal action is a referral. Pastors have at their disposal the most important tool in their hands the word of God a tool that provides direction, hope and encouragement (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009). If the intention of any counseling undertaking is to help the counselee, then the Bible provides all the tools named above required in handling most of the social problems at hand. Pastoral counseling players thus ought to take up the challenge and restore the former face of the church, a place to run to when one needs reliable answers based on a pure platform, which is the word of God.

Expectations of the Course

Anytime one is dealing the psychology, he/she needs to be very attentive on the little things because negligence might ruin the life of a person (Kollar, 1997). Taking up the pastoral counseling task does pose a healthy challenge but also a great feeling when one gets to help put a smile on a persons face. Openness is very vital as it helps one not to judge the counselee but provide a listening ear. I expect to meet concrete challenges because of the appreciation of the fact that the subjects are human beings facing challenges close to mine. I am also open to the fact that when it comes to counseling, a positive result is not the only possibility. It is my expectation that through the words of our Lord, I will be able to provide guidance and motivation to all counselees I am going to meet. Above all, we must put God first because it only through Him that we can influence and guide people in the right way (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009). It is, therefore, my expectation that I will play my role as a counselor to bring positive change in people lives through the blessings of our Lord.

Approach to Pastoral Counseling

The best perspective to conduct a counseling session successfully is by accepting that counselors are there to listen to the counselee. Pastors should ensure that they do not intimidate or scare the person. Letting the client feel in control goes a mile in winning his/her trust, and he/she feels much easier to let a counselor into his/her problems. All this helps in making the counseling be more accommodating to the counselee. Many times the counselor falls into the trap of dealing with a problem like he/she dealt with the previous ones. This is called generalization, and it is the main reason some counseling sessions end up being a waste of time (Kollar, 1997). When the counselor is keen to listen to the client, with time he/she can dig deeper into the actual problem being faced by the person. Sometimes, the problem at hand might be very personal and the only way the pastor can be able to get into it is winning the trust and confidence of the client. All this is possible if one is ready to show empathy, and the client feels the counselor can relate to him or her (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009).

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After winning the confidence of the counselee and he/she has revealed the real problem, the next thing is to start looking for the solution. Many experts try to label the issue rather than solving it. As they do this, they completely dominate the counseling session forgetting about the interest of the most important variable the counselee. There are two helpful approaches; biblical counseling perspective and solution-focused counseling. Biblical counseling is where one provides an environment where the counselee feels he/she is in a company of a friend. The counselor listens to the client to ensure he/she identifies the real problem. An important aspect of this form of counseling is the integration of biblical references into the sessions. This is in the realization that the Bible will always have a similar case and this acts to show the client that the problem or situation at hand is not an isolated case. Integrating the Bible in counseling is vital in touching the aspects like the spirit that can only be done through the miracles of our Creator (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009). Giving the counselee some relevant motivational verses helps in making him or her be more pro-active in solving his/her problem. It also makes him/her perform a deeper self-evaluation thereby making it possible to handle all aspects of the problem at hand.

Solution-based counseling perspective is where the intention is to help the counselee make progress in his/her life rather than trying to put more effort in understanding the problem he/she faces. According to Kollar (1997), the intention of solution-based counseling is to magnify the strengths of the client rather than pointing out his/her weaknesses. It means demonstrating that the counselee is in control, and the counselors work is to listen, encourage and motivate him/her to make a self-evaluation. The goal is to expand counselees paradigm so that he or she can be able to understand the problem at hand. This is because, under this perspective, a problem facing a counselee is viewed as a new variable beyond his/her understanding. Therefore, the intention is to help the client cope and understand the new variable, and this is the reason behind targeting the abilities rather than weaknesses. Through the combination of these two perspectives, I believe, that the counselees will be able to forge ahead with their lives and also be of help to others.

Conclusion

The above illustrations lead to one viable conclusion; pastoral counseling should have its rightful position in the field of mental health. Pastors and church ministers should not accept taking a passive role in this field. Counseling entails giving hope, making it clearer for the clients to accept the reality and help them forge past their current predicaments. When it comes to instilling hope and encouragement, then one can be assured that the word of God will always play an active role. It, therefore, means that the agents of our Lord must also ensure that they adhere to the scriptures through accepting and handling the counseling challenges. Pastoral counseling should, therefore, be encouraged and given the seriousness it deserves. Through it, the counselees can be assured of getting spiritual help, encouragement and motivation that is cemented in the pure and holistic scriptures of the Lord.

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